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Sports >  NHL

Kraken fall to Rangers, losing third straight coming out of All-Star break

Feb. 10, 2023 Updated Fri., Feb. 10, 2023 at 7:46 p.m.

Geoff Baker Seattle Times

NEW YORK — Just a tick past five minutes into this game, it was abundantly clear the Kraken weren’t about to end what’s become a concerning stretch of road play.

It was bad enough they were facing the New York Rangers on a Friday night that new trade acquisition Vladimir Tarasenko was making his debut for them. The Kraken allowed Tarasenko to score off a turnover before this eventual 6-3 loss was even three minutes old and that got the Madison Square Garden momentum snowballing down the slope on top of them.

Tarasenko’s goal, after Ryan Donato had coughed up the puck in the neutral zone to create an odd-man rush, negated much of some early forechecking work by the Kraken and got the Rangers throwing the puck around at their freewheeling finest. Kaapo Kakko would score unguarded from the left side of the net to cap a series of rapid-fire passes at just the 5:01 mark, which set the tone for the remainder of a period in which the Rangers seemed to besiege shaky-looking goalie Martin Jones in waves.

Vincent Trocheck would add a third goal off a goal-mouth scramble with under six minutes to play in the frame and that was effectively the game. The Kraken briefly made things interesting late, but Ryan Lindgren clinched it with a late empty-net goal after Jones was pulled for an extra attacker.

It was the third straight loss for the Kraken to start this five-game road trip, leaving them 29-18-5 on the season with the Pacific Division standings tightening up around them. They trail first-place Vegas by three points and now have just two remaining games in-hand on them while they’re tied with Edmonton and Los Angeles with a game in hand on the Oilers and two on the Kings.

Still, games in-hand only matter if you can win them and the Kraken showed few signs until late in this one that they could compete enough to have any shot at victory.

It was 4-0 for the home side barely a minute into the second period before Oliver Bjorkstrand scored a breakaway goal on Igor Shesterkin soon after to get the Kraken on the board. It was the first goal by a Kraken forward since before the All-Star break and offered the visitors a glimmer of hope.

But a struggling power play failed to convert some chances before period’s end. The Rangers would go up 5-1 in the third before a pair of goals by Jared McCann and Brandon Tanev just 22 seconds apart with a little under 14 minutes to go gave the Kraken some late life.

Still, the Kraken couldn’t generate enough sustained momentum to come all the way back.

They had a chance when Niko Mikkola was called for delay of game with about 11 minutes to go for inadvertently putting the puck over the glass — though a replay on the arena’s scoreboard showed Matty Beniers actually touched the puck before it left play, incensing the home crowd.

It didn’t matter in the end as the Rangers killed the penalty and most of what remained of the Kraken’s chances. Tanev had a short-handed breakaway chance in the game’s dying minutes that was foiled by Shesterkin.

Tanev drew a penalty on the play and the Kraken later pulled Jones for a 6-on-4 advantage only to yield the empty net goal.

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